Yep, can't get around it. Can't deny the calendar and can't make it slow down. It's almost Labor Day, which is one week from today to be more precise than "almost" and that means summer is wrapping up, Target and Office Depot are packed with kids buying school supplies, here in the Minnesota the state fair is in full swing, and the U.S. Nationals are right around the corner. I leave for Indy on Thursday.
Today is Monday, however, and if you still haven't voted for Wilk to make the Traxxas Shootout, you have a few hours left to do so. Voting ends at noon (EDT) on Tuesday (I think) but just to be safe, if you haven't voted and you want to, or if you have voted and you know someone else who has a Facebook page and who would like to vote, now's the time to do it. You just have to be on Facebook to cast your ballot.
Just go here: https://www.facebook.com/NHRA
Right below the big picture of the Traxxas car you'll see a small box that says "VOTE TRAXXAS" and you click on that to get to the voting page. Then, you vote for Tim Wilkerson. That's the deal, right?
There are a number of valid and legit reasons to vote for Wilk, but the best combination of two good reasons is the fact he's a great racer and a great guy. In other words, he sincerely deserves it. Period.
The first of many campaign posters during the last week. I'll let them all speak for themselves.
But, since I'm the PR guy and the "Idea Man" around here, it's been my pleasure to mount a bit of a campaign for Wilk over the last week, pulling out the creative stops to provide some incentive and maybe make a few people smile when they vote for my boss. And, you can't have a campaign without campaign posters, right? Here are a few of the posters I've made up over the last few days, and it's been a lot of fun doing it.
When the voting started, it was clear from the get-go that it was going to be a three person race for the highest percentage, as Robert Hight, Alexis DeJoria, and Wilk all started out right around 25-30 percent of the vote. Wilk then went on a little surge for a few days, thanks to the awe-inspiring power and dedication of his fans, Wilk's Warriors. All NHRA fans are amazing, and very loyal, but Wilk's backers are just one notch more fervent in a lot of ways, and at one point we had 41 percent of the vote, although it's tightened back up again in the last 24 hours.
Robert and Alexis are clearly very popular and deservedly so, and they both have a lot of resources behind them to get out the vote. We have you. And me, of course, but mostly you because we can all only vote once and I cast my ballot last Monday morning. It's been amazing to see the percentage grow and the votes come in, as Wilk fans from around the world show their support for my boss. Great stuff, and thank you!
If you haven't voted yet, now's the time. If you have a spouse, a sibling, a child, a cousin, a guy who changes your oil, or if you sit next to a perfect stranger on a bus and see he's on Facebook, ask for their vote too. I don't feel in any way bad about asking for extra votes, because I know in my heart you'd be asking for people to vote for the right guy. He owns it, he tunes it, he drives it, he runs the organization, and he's as genuine and real as they come. He deserves a shot at the $100,000.
And just to be clear, the percentage of the vote will equal the number of ping-pong balls each driver gets in the lottery machine, so every percent is worth one more shot at having one of Wilk's ping-pong balls pop out like a PowerBall winner. Let's go Wilk!
Shifting gears to other things related to the end of summer...
With Indy coming up within days, there's a ton of focus on the Countdown and who is going to be in it within the Funny Car class. We went into Brainerd in such a tight fight for the last three spots in the top 10, it was crazy. It was truly one of those moments where anything could happen, and any little glitch or mistake could've been enormously costly. We were eighth, going into Brainerd, but one sneeze could've knocked us right to 11th.
Instead, we won two rounds in our Circle K car, and gave ourselves a little breathing room. We still haven't clinched, and as long as the math tells you that you can still be knocked out, well... You better be ready.
The realistic side of it, though, got a lot better for us in Brainerd. Now, we have multiple round leads on all three of the other drivers behind us who are in contention. We even have an 81 point lead on Del, who is in 11th and is the guy trying to knock someone out in order to get in. Here's the key, though: We have to qualify for the race. If we do that, it becomes a very convoluted scenario for us to get knocked out. It's not just the number of points we're ahead, it's also the fact that three other drivers would have to get around us through a combination of bonus points, qualifying points, and round points, and for that to happen they'd all have to somehow avoid running each other until the semifinals. The math still works, though, so we have to get in the show, and if we do that we'll be almost impossible to knock out.
So, I say let's just qualify high and win the U.S. Nationals. That will work just fine. Oh, and if we get some more ping-pong balls, and one of them pops out of the machine, and we get in the Traxxas Shootout, and we win it... Well, that $100,000 check will go a long way around here. The way our budget has been this season, that big super-sized check would give us a lot better shot at winning races and maybe even pulling off the miracle of a championship. Just sayin'...
The end of the summer also coincides with the end of our wonderful few months here in Minnesota. When I get back from Indy I'll have a couple of days to get organized and then we'll load up the car, grab the boyz, and hit the highway for the 1,400-mile drive back out to Liberty Lake. We've had a wonderful time here this summer (as evidenced by how fast time has flown) but I'm also looking forward to getting back to our home near Spokane, to enjoy that beautiful place and our wonderful house there. Okay, for the record it will also be nice to be back where we have two TVs instead of one. I'm sure a lot of you can relate to that...
As I told Barb, the best part about this is that we love both places, so even though you're a little sad to leave one you're still excited to get back to the other. Can't wait, and I'm looking forward to the drive as well. Buster and Boofus were such good boys on the way out here, and we're both hoping they'll be just as much fun on the way back.
This past weekend, we finally did something most Minnesotans do regularly, as part of a normal life in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. We went out on one of those lakes, and it was a GREAT day. Heather Pribyl is one of Barbara's former colleagues from when she worked in St. Paul who will always be a dear friend, and Heather and her husband Jamie wanted to get together for a day before the summer was over. At first, we were just going to rent a boat, but then we decided to go out on one of the prettiest lakes in the state, Lake Minnetonka, and if we did that we might as well rent a larger pontoon, and if we did that we ought to invite some more friends along, and if we did that we might as well hire a skipper to do the driving. Minnetonka is a huge lake on the west side of the Twin Cities, and it would just be better to have fun and not worry about getting lost.
So, our friends Terry and Lynn Blake jumped at the chance (Barbara, Heather, and Terry are all former colleagues at Lawson Software), and Neighbor Dave and Nichol were also up for it, but Dave got totally buried by work so only Nichol could make it. We brought tons of appetizers ranging from sushi (thanks Jamie!), to veggies, cheese & crackers, shrimp, and assorted other goodies, and even kicked off our cruise with a toast of champagne in plastic cups.
For the next three hours we had a wonderful time (yes, it was a "three hour tour" but we never did get shipwrecked on a desert isle, and now you can thank me for having the "Gilligan's Island" theme in your head for the rest of the day). We got swamped a few times, thanks to the big power-boaters out on the lake who have no care in the world what their wake will do to a pontoon, but all was good and the company was brilliant. Some of the best friends anyone can have...
We also even made a pitstop at a place called Lord Fletcher's, which is a Minnetonka landmark you can either drive to or pull right up in front of with your boat. We docked for a bit, enjoyed the ambience, and felt like sailing marauders as we boarded our merry ship once again and set sail (okay, it didn't have sails, it was a pontoon!) for our home port. A great night!
Sit right back and you'll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip...
We originally moved to Minnesota in 2002, so it only took us 13 years to finally go out on a boat trip. Better late than never!
We still don't own a cabin, and I've never ice-fished, so there's plenty left to do in order to become full 5-Star members of the Minnesota way of life. And now, after we head back to Spokane it'll be time to root for the Gonzaga Bulldogs and the Spokane Chiefs again, while we get back into the flow of frequenting Hay J's Bistro and Palenque, our two favorite Liberty Lake restaurants. Just getting familiar again with the clerks at the grocery stores and the ladies at the dry cleaners will be a quick adjustment, as well.
And before you know it, they'll close the golf course we live on, the snow will fly, and I'll have a massive 18-hole park in my back yard, perfect for long walks in the powder and quiet nights under the full moon, while the snow glistens in the distance. It's a good life.
But... Let's get that one last major push going for a few more votes for Wilk. Call your kids, ask your neighbor, beg our girlfriend for a vote. It's all for a good man, who deserves a shot at the big prize....
And on to Indy...